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Clifford J. Tabin

Ph.D.

Chairman, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School

George Jacob and Jacqueline Hazel Leder Professor of Genetics

Dr. Cliff Tabin is Chair of the Department Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and a pioneer developmental biologist.

The common theme of Dr. Tabin's research investigations has been an attempt to understand “pattern formation", how the organization of an embryo arises during its development.  His efforts are responsible for our current understanding of such embryological questions as why the leg is different in form from the arm, and why the heart is on the left and not the right, as well as evolutionary questions such as understanding the genetic basis for the differences in the shapes of the beaks of different species of Darwin's Finches in the Galapagos Islands.

In addition to his research program, Dr. Tabin has had a major involvement in education efforts at Harvard Medical School, teaching embryology and genetics to both the medical students and the graduate students.  He has also played a leadership role in recent wide-ranging medical education reform at Harvard.  Additionally, Dr. Tabin has utilized his expertise in this area to assist the development of a new medical school in Nepal.

Dr. Tabin was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007. Among his many honors, he received the National Academy of Sciences Award in 1999; the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology in 2008; elected to the European Molecular Biology Organization in 2010; received the Conklin Medal from the Society for Developmental Biology in 2012, received a ScD honoris causa degree from Union College, Schenectady, New York; asked to present the Harvey Lecture in 2012, and was elected Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London in 2014.

Dr. Tabin completed his graduate studies in Biology at MIT in 1984, studying oncogenes with Bob Weinberg.  He has been on the faculty in the HMS Department of Genetics since 1989.  He has been a Full Professor since 1997 and was appointed Chairman of the Department in January 2007.

Clifford J. Tabin

Ph.D.

Chairman, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School

George Jacob and Jacqueline Hazel Leder Professor of Genetics

Dr. Cliff Tabin is Chair of the Department Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and a pioneer developmental biologist.

The common theme of Dr. Tabin's research investigations has been an attempt to understand “pattern formation", how the organization of an embryo arises during its development.  His efforts are responsible for our current understanding of such embryological questions as why the leg is different in form from the arm, and why the heart is on the left and not the right, as well as evolutionary questions such as understanding the genetic basis for the differences in the shapes of the beaks of different species of Darwin's Finches in the Galapagos Islands.

In addition to his research program, Dr. Tabin has had a major involvement in education efforts at Harvard Medical School, teaching embryology and genetics to both the medical students and the graduate students.  He has also played a leadership role in recent wide-ranging medical education reform at Harvard.  Additionally, Dr. Tabin has utilized his expertise in this area to assist the development of a new medical school in Nepal.

Dr. Tabin was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007. Among his many honors, he received the National Academy of Sciences Award in 1999; the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology in 2008; elected to the European Molecular Biology Organization in 2010; received the Conklin Medal from the Society for Developmental Biology in 2012, received a ScD honoris causa degree from Union College, Schenectady, New York; asked to present the Harvey Lecture in 2012, and was elected Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London in 2014.

Dr. Tabin completed his graduate studies in Biology at MIT in 1984, studying oncogenes with Bob Weinberg.  He has been on the faculty in the HMS Department of Genetics since 1989.  He has been a Full Professor since 1997 and was appointed Chairman of the Department in January 2007.

Recent Publications

The developmental mechanics of divergent buckling patterns in the chick gut

Published On 2024 Jul 05

Journal article

Tissue buckling is an increasingly appreciated mode of morphogenesis in the embryo, but it is often unclear how geometric and material parameters are molecularly determined in native developmental contexts to generate diverse functional patterns. Here, we study the link between differential mechanical properties and the morphogenesis of distinct anteroposterior compartments in the intestinal tract-the esophagus, small intestine, and large intestine. These regions originate from a simple, common...


Host evolution shapes gut microbiome composition in Astyanax mexicanus

Published On 2024 Apr 04

Journal article

The ecological and genetic changes that underlie the evolution of host-microbe interactions remain elusive, primarily due to challenges in disentangling the variables that alter microbiome composition. To understand the impact of host habitat, host genetics, and evolutionary history on microbial community structure, we examined gut microbiomes of river- and three cave-adapted morphotypes of the Mexican tetra, Astyanax mexicanus, in their natural environments and under controlled laboratory...